Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paddling on the Eno River - Not!

12/26/09 - Lake Holt, Butner, NC

Hi everyone! Christmas morning dawned overcast, temperatures in the low 40's F, and a stiff breeze that drove rain swollen clouds east. By mid morning, the rains came. All day it rained, sometimes very heavy down pours that reduced driving visibility to less then 50 yards. It was a total washout for any paddling. :-( However, on Saturday (12/26/09), weather conditions greatly improved - temperatures in the the mid 50's, partly sunny, and a light breeze less then 5 mph. I decided to paddle on the Eno River having scouted out the Eno River Boat Ramp at Falls Lake put in area a few days prior. However, when I arrived at my planned put in area about mid morning (12/26/09), it was not to be! The Eno River was over its banks from all the rainfall on Christmas Day and the current was running fast! This was beyond my kayaking ability and I wisely decided to NOT put in at the Eno River. Paddling safety tip - ALWAYS understand and know your paddling abilities and limitations... and never exceed them!

Eno River information and regulations posting at the boat ramp.

Flooding aftermath from the Christmas Day heavy rainfall. Note that the dock is half submerged and the Eno River has flooded over its banks into the woods.
The extensive flooding and swift current of the Eno River. I asked two hunters who were loading their boat onto a trailer about the water conditions. One of them pointed to the 10 horsepower motor attached to their boat, and told me that they had difficulty getting back up the river with the current running so fast. My kayak stayed firmly lashed to my truck bed - it never got wet here! ;-)

Instead, I travelled to Lake Holt, about 15 minutes up the road from my planned Eno River put in area. Lake water levels were high here also and the lake had a much different appearance from the last time I paddled on its waters back in late October!

Another beautiful paddling day on Lake Holt! Partly sunny with temperatures in the mid 50's and a light breeze.

Winter has set in and many of the trees on the shoreline are bare and grey. Wall and small spillway on the Holt Dam.
I landed on the shore and scrambled up the steep banks to get a view of the moss-covered walls. I estimate the concrete walls to be two feet thick.
I was also curious what lay on the "other" side of the Holt Dam walls... now both you and I know the answer! ;-)
Here is the "handiwork" of a beaver.
I heard running water and went up this cove to discover this stream emptying into Lake Holt. Nice "calendar" photo here.
Also found this smaller stream that flowed into a quiet cove. Saw two snapping turtles sunning themselves on a half submerged tree trunk, but they crawled back into the water before I could extract my camera from the dry bag.
Approaching the Robert Chapel Road bridge.
On the other side of the bridge, the land belongs to the Camp Butner National Guard Training Center. Boaters are safe as long as they remain in their boats and don't venture on shore. This was one area that I did NOT land to stretch my legs!
I hate to see this pollution. Someone decided that the correct disposal of a 50 gallon rusting drum (with unknown contents) is along the Lake Holt shoreline.
Back at the Lake Holt attendant station and dock area. Another fun paddling adventure! :-)

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